United States: More Family Time And Money: New Jersey Expands Its Family Leave Entitlements

Last Updated: March 8 2019
Article by Alison B. Andolena and Keith J. Rosenblatt

Declaring it the "most expansive paid family leave time and benefits in the nation," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3975 into law on February 19, 2019. AB 3975 significantly expands the scope of the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) and the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law (NJTDBL), by, among other things, imposing new obligations on smaller employers that were not previously covered by the NJFLA. The new law also amends New Jersey's Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act by granting paid family temporary disability leave benefits to covered time off relating to domestic and sexual violence. AB 3975 went into effect immediately, but some of its provisions will be phased in over time.

New Jersey Family Leave Act

Prior to its amendment, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) allowed qualifying employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave in a 24-month period for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Since July 2009, while on NJFLA leave, employees could receive up to 6 weeks of paid benefits in a 12-month period, up to a maximum amount of $650 per week, through the Family Leave Insurance provisions of the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law (NJTDBL). Such benefits are paid through the state or via a state-approved private plan, if established by the employer. They are funded through payroll deductions.

Perhaps the most significant amendment to the NJFLA is the expansion of the number of employers it covers. Previously, the NJFLA applied only to employers of 50 or more employees. Effective June 30, 2019, the NJFLA will apply to all employers that employ at least 30 employees during each "working day" in the "20 or more calendar workweeks in the then current or immediately preceding calendar year." This change substantially increases the number of covered employers.

AB 3975 also makes several other significant changes to the NJFLA that are effective immediately, including:

  • Revising the definitions of "family leave," "child," and "parent" to provide for leave in situations involving the placement a foster child or the birth of a child via a surrogate or gestational carrier;
  • Broadening the definition of "family member" (which previously included only child, parent, spouse, or civil union partner) to also include parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or any other blood relative, and "any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is the equivalent of a family relationship"; and
  • Expanding the period during which intermittent leave may be taken from 24 consecutive weeks to 12 consecutive months. Additionally, while employers previously had to agree to grant intermittent leave for the birth or adoption of a child, now it must be provided. Intermittent leave may also be taken for the placement of a foster child or the birth of a child via a gestational carrier.

New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act

The New Jersey SAFE Act provides qualifying employees with up to 20 days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to address circumstances resulting from domestic violence or a sexually violent offense affecting the employee or the employee's family members. The SAFE Act has now been amended to incorporate the much broader definition of family members in the NJFLA.

Additionally, employers may no longer require employees to use accrued paid vacation, personal or sick leave benefits for such leave, but employees may choose to do so. The law has also been amended to allow employees to elect to use benefits available under the NJTDBL.

New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law

In addition to the increased leave entitlements discussed above, AB 3975 also increases the monetary benefits available to employees through the Family Leave Insurance provisions of the NJTDBL.

Most significantly, AB 3975 doubles from 6 to 12 the number of weeks for which benefits are available in any 12-month period for the covered leaves discussed above that commence on or after July 1, 2020. Additionally, the number of days of benefits for intermittent leave available for those covered leaves will increase from 42 to 56 days.

At the same time, beginning July 1, 2020, the weekly benefit rate will increase from approximately 66% to 85% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of $860 per week. The increase in the amount of benefits applies to both temporary disability leave and the family temporary disability leaves discussed above. These increased benefit amounts will continue to be funded by payroll tax contributions.

For family temporary disability leaves commencing on or after July 1, 2019, benefits will be immediately payable. The current one-week waiting period will be eliminated.

Also, effective immediately, employers are no longer able to require (but they may still permit) employees to use paid sick leave, vacation time, or other leave at full pay before using disability benefits. Employers are also no longer entitled to reduce the number of days of disability benefits available to employees by the number of days of leave at full pay provided by the employer.

Additional amendments to the NJTDBL include:

  • Expanding the definitions of "family member," "child," and "parent" so that they are the same as under the NJFLA;
  • Permitting paid leave benefits for leave covered by the NJ SAFE Act;
  • Imposing additional notice requirements for employers with private plans;
  • Requiring, with respect to a private plan under a collective bargaining agreement, that a majority of the employees covered by the agreement agree to contribute to the plan through a written election, unless the collective bargaining agreement expressly waives their right to a majority election as a condition for the private plan, and permitting such elections to be conducted via e-mail with electronic signatures; and
  • Imposing a $250 penalty on employers that fail to provide certain required notifications or disclosures and extending penalties previously available under the law (fines up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 90 days) to such failures under certain circumstances.

Finally, the NJTDBL now includes an expansive anti-retaliation provision that prohibits an employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against employees because they requested or took temporary disability benefits or family temporary disability leave benefits, including "retaliation by refusing to restore the employee following a period of leave." The amendments also create a private right of action for violation of this provision, with all remedies available in tort (such as emotional distress and punitive damages) as well as civil fines, injunctive relief, reinstatement, reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights, compensation for lost wages, benefits and other remuneration, and reasonable costs and attorneys' fees.

It should be noted that AB 3975 also states that the amendments should not be construed to grant an employee any reinstatement rights under the NJTDBL, or to modify any reinstatement rights under the NJFLA. It appears that this disclaimer means that smaller employers that still do not meet the lowered 30-employee threshold for coverage under the NJFLA may not be obligated to reinstate employees merely because they used NJTDBL benefits during their leave.

Suggested for Employers—Action Items Based on these New Entitlements

In light of these new amendments, employers with operations in New Jersey should consider taking the following steps:

  • Updating their handbooks and applicable policies to reflect the changes of the law;
  • Revising any internal leave forms to reflect the expanded definitions in the three laws; and
  • Complying with new notice requirements for employers with private plans upon publication of the new notice form.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions